Oct. 20, 2004
NU-Loyola Box Score in PDF Format
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CHICAGO, Ill. -- The word of the night was "letdown." Following perhaps the most significant victory in Northwestern's history Sunday over then-third-ranked Indiana, the Wildcats knew they could not afford to lose their intensity on the road Wednesday night against the Ramblers.
It looked like NU may have done just that, though, after Loyola took a 1-0 lead just 2:05 into the match on a deflected ball in the box. The Wildcats pressed for two second-half scores, however, and earned a hard-fought, 2-1 victory.
"We knew we were in for a letdown," NU head coach Tim Lenahan said. "We talked about it all week. It was impossible to play with the same level of intensity as we did against Indiana."
Northwestern came out in the second-half and showed some of that fire the Wildcats displayed earlier in the week, knotting the score in the 46th minute when Brad Napper (Dallas, Texas/Jesuit College Prep) put home a ball served into the box by Eric Brin (Westlake, Calif./Westlake) on a set piece.
NU (9-3-2) stepped up the pressure after Loyola's Lee Zarzecki earned a red card to put the Ramblers a man down, and again found the back of the net in the 62nd minute when Kevin Earnest (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) buried a ball on an assist from Jaro Pylypczak (Lombard, Ill./Benet Academy) to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
"We said if they can defend us for 45 minutes in the second half, then they deserve to win this match," Lenahan said. "We knew we were going to throw some stuff at them and we did."
Loyola (2-12-1) proved to be pesky, continually pushing for the equalizer despite NU's man advantage. With less than 45 seconds remaining in the match, Brian Heckenbach (Algonquin, Ill./Jacobs) made a spectacular save, diving low to the corner on a sure goal to preserve the Northwestern victory.
The Wildcats return to action at 2 p.m. Sunday with a home match against Big Ten foe Michigan.